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Internal gravity waves: Wikis


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Gravity waves occur at interfaces between high and low density fluids. Most people are familiar with water surface waves, which act between water (as in lakes or oceans) and the air.

Where low density water overlies high density water in the ocean, internal gravity waves propagate along the boundary. They are especially common over the continental shelf regions of the world oceans and where brackish water overlies salt water at the outlet of large rivers.

There is typically little surface expression of the waves, aside from slick bands that can form over the trough of the waves.

Wavelengths vary from centimetres to kilometres with periods of seconds to hours respectively


  • Thomson, R.E. 1981. Oceanography of the British Columbia Coast. Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 56. Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Ottawa. 291p.


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